Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The end

It's hard to believe that I have finally arrived at the end of my teaching career! Yes, it's the end of that phase of my life, but that means it's the beginning of the next, and I'm pretty excited about the possibilities!

My friend Edna made our retirement cake. The top left is for Phyllis (high school secretary), bottom left for Robyn (2nd grade teacher), bottom right for Ken (high school guidance counselor), and top right for me.

Obviously, Edna pictures me traveling and tatting!

Robyn and I received crystal bowls as our retirement gifts.

I started my newest Spinning Wheel glass mat (Tatting with Visual Patterns by Mary Konior) is in luscious hand-dyed thread from my friend Marilee Rockley aka Yarnplayer. The color is Lilac Sea. Isn't it beautiful?

I love working with hand-dyed thread. There's something about the dyeing process that makes the thread extra smooth, and I love the colors!

Monday, May 30, 2016

For Mom

If finished my Concentric Rectangles doily today! I chose these colors with Mom in mind. Mom loves red, and these colors seemed perfect for her. So Mom, this doily is for you if you'd like to have it!

I have 18 rows to go before I start decreasing on my mermaid tail afghan. It takes me about 20 minutes to crochet a row, so I guess that means I have a good 6 hours of crocheting before I start decreasing. I don't see how I can possibly finish a third afghan before the play, but I'm sure going to try!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sore fingers

I spent most of the afternoon working on key rings to sell at The Little Mermaid. My fingers are really sore from working with pliers and split rings. I sure hope these sell, or I will have key rings to give as Christmas gifts for years to come!

Despite having sore fingers, I did work on my Concentric Rectangles doily. It looks like I'll be finishing this one soon!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sunny yellow

I finished my sunny yellow Spinning Wheel! This is the other Fiore thread from Slovakia. Like the pink, it's very tightly twisted. Dropping the shuttle frequently and closing rings slowly really did make this a time-consuming tat. I tried using a larger picot size, and it did make a difference. I still had to carefully steam this, but not after every spoke as I have had to do other times. I may keep experimenting with picot sizes. You never know, I may find the perfect picot size for me! ;-)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Close to the end

Tonight was the preschool recognition ceremony. Tomorrow is the last day for the kids. Tuesday is teacher institute day. Yikes! The end is drawing near!

I'd better get crackin' if I'm going to finish this Spinning Wheel glass mat tomorrow. Where has the week gone?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Outside my comfort zone

This has been an unbelievable week so far! Last night was 8th grade promotion. In our school district, the administration leads the school board members, then the teachers, and then the students in to the gym for the ceremony.

The middle school teachers insisted that the elementary teachers lead using the logic that we taught the students first. Then they took it one step further and insisted that Robyn and I lead the teachers because we're both retiring this year. We didn't mind, but it was a little strange to be the leaders of the pack!

Needless to say, there wasn't much time for tatting yesterday, and I was too tired to post once I arrived home.

Today was very interesting and exciting!

Our 3rd and 5th graders had fund raising projects that have taken place over the past three weeks. The 3rd graders read a story about a girl who raised money for a goat for a family in Africa. The kids made signs advertising a lemonade stand and sold lemonade on two different occasions. Two weeks ago, they sold lemonade during the middle school and high school lunch hours and raised approximately $150. Today they sold lemonade to elementary students during the 5th grad carnival. Today they raised $221.50! Their goal was to be able to purchase one goat through Heifer International. They've far surpassed their goal, and tomorrow they will be deciding how they want to donate their money

The 5th graders have been collection cans, pop tops, selling raffle tickets, and conducted penny wars. I'm not exactly sure how penny wars works, but one of our 2nd grade teachers "won" and had to kiss a pig!

Pumpkin was dressed in school colors, and Miss Moranz came through kissing the pig in front of the whole school!

The raffle tickets sold were for throwing a pie in a teacher's face. Robyn and I found out that the drawing was rigged and that no matter what, the two of us were getting pied!

I hammed it up pretty good, showing off my plastic bag "dress" and shower cap.

It's hard to tell from this picture, but my plastic bag "dress" was filled with two cans of whipped cream. Mine was the last name drawn, and the kids really got in to cheering on the pie throwers!

The end result of all this fun was that the 5th graders raised $900 for a local cancer support group affiliated with St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital... pretty impressive for our little school!

I did find a little time to tat. I'm hoping to finish this Spinning Wheel by Friday!

Monday, May 23, 2016

The last week of school

I can't believe the last week of school is here! It will be a busy week with field days, reward movies, 5th grade carnival, 8th grade graduation, and preschool recognition. I know the week will fly by!

Despite all the activity, I am determined to find time to tat every day! I did make some progress on my Concentric Rectangles doily.

I also managed to tat a little bit on my newest Spinning Wheel.

I wonder if I really will have more time for tatting after next Tuesday? 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Another slow day for tatting

I meant to get a lot of tatting done, but it just didn't happen. Household chores took over my morning, and I spent most of the afternoon helping daughter Carol with her costume for The Little Mermaid. It's not finished, but we did get a good start on it.

The yellow Fiore thread was calling to me, so I decided to work with it before starting with my beautiful new Lilac Sea hand-dyed thread. This time I'm using the next larger picot gauge. I want to see how much of a difference the larger picot makes. Yes, I'm tatting another Spinning Wheel glass mat from Tatting with Visual Patterns by Mary Konior. I'm still keeping on track with tatting at least one per week in 2016!

Eliz and I have corresponded regarding the stiffness of the Concentric Rectangles doily. Is the stiffness from the thread, the tension of the double stitches, or the size of the picots? I want to try my next one with larger picots to see if it changes the look and feel. We don't know if we don't try, right?

Friday, May 20, 2016

High school graduation 2016

Tonight was high school graduation, the last one I will attend as a staff member. I thought I might be a little teary at this one, but I wasn't. It was great to see another group of students graduate, knowing that I met most of them when they were five years old. Congratulations class of 2016!

I asked another teacher to take a picture of daughter Carol and me in our master's gowns and hoods. Carol completed her master's degree in history last year. I completed my master's degree in education 13 years ago.

Since neither one of us could see our own back view, I had Katie take a picture of that as well!

I did achieve my goal of completing a Spinning Wheel glass mat by Friday! In case you didn't know, this is my favorite pattern from Tatting with Visual Patterns by Mary Konior.

The thread is size 20 Fiore, manufactured in Slovakia. It's slightly heavier than size 20 Lizbeth. The thread has a nice firm finish, but it's not my favorite. The thread would twist up on me, so I had to drop my shuttle about every four double stitches to let it untwist. I also had to be careful closing rings. Closing it too swiftly caused the thread to twist up, making it difficult to close the ring.

Even though it's not my favorite thread, I would buy it in other colors if I could find it. I purchased this from DS9 Designs. There are only three balls left, one pink and two yellow. I may have to write to my son-in-law's father to see if he can find it other colors for me! ;-)

I did a little experimenting with picots for this Spinning Wheel. I've had this set of picot gauges for years. I like them because of the ring that holds them together... very convenient! I usually use the smallest size for my Spinning Wheel glass mats, but this time I decided to go up one size. I was pleased that the Spinning Wheel worked up a little flatter than normal. I think I might try going up one more size on my next one to see if that makes an even greater difference.

Some new threads arrived in the mail today, Lilac Sea hand-dyed thread from my friend Marilee aka Yarnplayer. I love this color combination!

Now the big question is, should I experiment with picots with this beautiful new hand-dyed thread, or should I use one that I have in greater quantity? 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Fumble fingers

I had fumble fingers last night. I was trying to finish Stephanie's beaded bridal bag, and it took me forever to string the beads for the drawstrings! I gave up and went to bed at 9, but I was back at it early this morning.

Luckily, my fingers worked this morning! I was able to finish the bag and give it to Stephanie. She was very pleased with it, and that makes me happy!

I've managed to reach the 2/3 mark on my Spinning Wheel glass mat. With a little more tatting tonight and some tatting time tomorrow, I should be able to finish. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Nearly done

At school, that is... I only have two shelves left to inventory. I know I could have stayed late today and finished up, but I'm enjoying taking my time. After all, it is the last time!

I did manage to spend some time on my Spinning Wheel glass mat today. I think I will easily finish this one by Friday!
For some strange reason, I haven't been able to add pictures to Blogger the past two days. There didn't seem to be much point to blogging without pictures. This morning I went through my settings and found a couple of draft posts, so I deleted them and now Blogger seems to be working fine.

One of the third grade girls wanted to make a necklace out of the neckband of her t-shirt for the play. So, Sunday afternoon, I made the necklace she wanted. After looking at the picture, I can see that it needs a little cleaning up, which can be done fairly easily. Maybe I'll surprise her and crochet a little edging around it to clean it up!

My latest Spinning Wheel glass mat in Fiore from Slovakia is coming along nicely.

I love the way the newest mermaid tail afghan is working up. It really looks like it belongs under the sea!

Last night the four retirees (two teachers, one guidance counselor, and one secretary) were invited to the school board meeting.

We were recognized for our years of service... 91 years of combined service!

...and we were given a gift certificate to a very nice restaurant. I will miss the daily routine, but since I plan to sign up as a substitute teacher, I know I will be able to keep in touch with the students and staff for as long as I like. Will I sleep in? Probably not. I'm an early morning person, and I think I'll be much happier if I stick to my morning routine!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Costume and set day

Daughter Carol called on Drama Club and community members to help make costumes and paint sets for The Little Mermaid today. So with sewing machine in hand, I headed off to school today.

Cast members who were able to come today had the opportunity to create their own costumes.

T shirts were slit, painted, beaded, and ruffled in a variety of ways.

The set pieces were all built a couple of weeks ago, and today a great deal of the set was painted.

There are 55 cast members, and it's great fun to see moms and dads participating along with their children!

I'm making progress on the medium sized Mermaid Tail afghan. I found out today that one of the moms is making mermaid themed quilts to be raffled off. I think this is going to be an amazing fund raiser!

As Eliz guessed, I started my newest Spinning Wheel is in the pink Fiore thread. So far, I'm really liking this thread! I wonder where I can get more colors?

Friday, May 13, 2016

I forgot to post!

When I finished reading blog posts last night, I closed my computer and went to bed. I totally forgot to post! Oh, well... I guess that means I have more to write about tonight. ;-)

Jane and Eliz asked to see some of the decorated shuttles, so here they are! I told the kids that if they brought in their undecorated shuttles, I would put the mermaid scale tape on one side. This is the only picture I've taken, but I've probably decorated nine shuttles in the past few days. I don't know how well the tape will stick, but the kids know that this is an experiment and they're excited to help out!

I managed to finish my red Manuela Spinning Wheel glass mat by Friday... whew!

Surfing the Internet is incredibly dangerous, but someone has to do it. I received an email from Handy Hands showing their newest items, and to make sure I qualified for free shipping, I ordered two thread packs. These were a necessary purchase, right?

The main reason for placing the order was to get Nina Libin's newest book. I love Nina's patterns, and come summer I plan on actually tatting some of them!

My friend Denise has been singing the praises of the Shuttle Brothers' newest book, so I went to their web site to find out about it. They indicated that they had an arrangement with DS-9 Designs, so I scooted on over to their web site to see if the book was available... and it was!

I didn't want to order just one item, so I looked at their Catchpin threads. I noticed the name Fiore and thought I'd found some Italian thread. There are only two colors available, and I was intrigued... so I ordered one of each!

Looking at the label, I thought that this might be German thread rather than Italian.

Upon further inspection, I found that the thread is actually from Slovakia. This thread purchase was meant to be. My son-in-law Jan is from Slovakia. I can't wait to try it out!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Shuttle fun

I was very happy to have a little time to tat today. I'm hoping to finish this Spinning Wheel glass mat by Friday, so that I keep on track with my goal of finishing one per week.

I'm very much in mermaid mode! I found this hoop tape on Etsy. I'd never heard of hoop tape, and I haven't taken the time to find out what it's for, but I know what I'm using it for. I took it to school today, and I'm using it to decorate the kids' tatting shuttles! Yes, indeed... I am shamelessly promoting the Drama Club's summer production of The Little Mermaid. As I'd hoped, the kids were excited about the tape. There will soon be mermaid scale tatting shuttles all over our little town!

My fascination with the shuttles from ShuttleByDesign.com continues. Aren't these beautiful?

Or maybe you prefer these? I obviously couldn't choose, so now I own them all!